Ye ‘Ol War on TV, The Simple Dollar Style

One thing I struggled with for many weeks and even months, was turning off the television and focusing my mind on other tasks.  This battle became known as “the war on tv” in my household. Some of you might remember my post, Things to Do, No TV, where I discussed some of the activities that I have done in place of tv watching.  While partially successful in the regards that I have drastically reduced the amount of time I watch TV, the war on tv became more of a reality check of priorities and the meaning of life.  Since starting the war a year ago, I continue to tell myself that TV is nothing than a marketing tool to brainwash the masses into parting with their money and wasting time.

And now, the war just heated up a bit.  The financial blog, The Simple Dollar, recently posted an article discussing the advantages of turning off the television, titled Ten Financial Reasons To Turn Off Your Television – And Ten Things To Replace It With.  The author also discusses activities to do in its place.  While my decision to go to war with the tv was not financial, The Simple Dollar points out that one can save a bundle by getting rid of the cable bill and saving electricity that the tv is no longer using, about $760/year. In addition, you’ll have more time to cook, more time with the family, and more time to devote to your business.

Overall, I found the article to be a nice refresher as to why I am trying to get totally off TV.  The financial ramifications are certainly positive and I would love to start my own side business. A little less stress would nice too.


California Central Coast Scenery for FSX!

Al Wheeler produced one of the best sceneries available for FS2002 and FS2004 when he released his California Central Coast Scenery back in July 2002. This scenery covered airports and key features between Santa Barbara, all the way up the coast to Hearst Castle, including Paso Robles. I instantly fell in love with this scenery, not only because I live on the central coast, but because the detail Mr. Wheeler models is extraordinary.

The detail just got a little better. Al released the Flight SImulator X (FSX) version of this scenery recently at AvSim. After downloading (link below) and installing it I immediately set out in my Saratoga to explore. I am just as impressed with the improvements as I was when I first installed the fs2002 version. New to the FSX version is more detailed landclass and features around the airports. For instance, Goleta Beach State Park is fully represented with a building and parking lot to mark the spot of the Beachside Bar-Cafe. The Santa Barbara harbor is also improved. To go with the impressive inventory of features is a highly detailed readme file that includes frequencies and coordinates of all of the good stuff! Combined with the enhanced rendering of the FSX engine and AI, this scenery really comes to life!

Welcome to Santa Barbara and Goleta

Flying over KSBA (you can see the oil rigs on the horizon and Goleta Beach near the pier)

The old 1920’s terminal which will soon be replaced by a modern facility with jetways

My favorite airplane, the Piper Saratoga II TC by FSD

Title: California Central Coast Scenery
Author(s): Al Wheeler
Filename: (avsim)
Revisions/Service Packs: (avsim); (avsim) (avsim) (avsim)
File Size: 5.3MB
Website: CCC FSX Site Information

edit 10may08 – added revsion 1 information and website link.
edit 01jun08 – added revision 2 information
edit 29jun08 – added revision 3 information
edit 20dec08 – added revision 4 information (adds museum at PRB)

New Embraer Phenom Papermodel!

Looking to give your eyes a break from the monitor on a long virtual flight?  Tired of flying planes that don’t really exist in the material world?  Not a flightsim fan, but looking for a new papermodel project?  Well, has the papermodel (cardmodel for those card people) for you.  Recently released is the Embraer Phenom 100 model consisting of three pages of parts and three pages of instructions.  The model comes with a stand, so if your good, you can show it off.  This one looks pretty simple (compared to Canon’s Starflyer A320 model) and should look good on anyone’s bookshelf.  Head on over and check it out.  If you like it, please leave a donation to make sure future become availalble.

If you are not into business jets, they also have an Embraer Super Tucano complete with missiles!  It is definitely not for the novice!

Happy cutting!

Historic Jetliners Group’s Big Update

Yep, Historic Jetliners Group (HJG) has updated their website with a slew of new files. Most significant of all is a new Boeing 707-120 base pack that features a freighter (f) model with opening cargo door.   To go with the new model are Phoenix Airways and Arca Columbia liveries.  For later model 707 fans, an upgraded 320B/C pack provides a  new Stage 2 Husk Kit (S2HK) model with plenty of liveries to go on top. An outstanding repaint of a Denver Ports of Call CV990-A is also available.

BUT the biggest update, at least I think so, is not a historic jetliner at all.  Its the preview thumbnails that they added to their aircraft inventory pages.  Gone are the days of endless clicking and window closing while perusing aircraft liveries.  In fact, I already found some outstanding paints that I had skipped over all of these years. Check out those Ecuatoriana 720B’s (screenshot below).

Happy historic jetlining!

Project Airbus A319 Goes Beta!

A little late on this one folks, but still well worth the belatedness. Project Airbus has expanded from their A320 with the BETA release of their A319-100. SAS and Cyprus Airways liveries are included. Since this is beta, you must 1) keep all repaints for personal use and 2) give them honest to goodness feedback. If you love it, tell them… if you hate it, tell them, but do it nicely! Please make sure to grab the SAS tail texture fix while in their forums.

Happy A319’n!

Edit 5/1/08 – Beta release has been taken pending the final release.  You can click the link above for beta information, but the download is no longer available.

An Aviation First: Fuel Cell Airplane Has Flown

I just saw this over at the Green Car Congress, a blog I frequent to stay up on the latest alternative fuel news in the automotive industry. Today, I saw a historical post, one that our grandkids might look back on in their aviation history books. Boeing Research and Technology Europe (based in Madrid), in conjunction with a group of companies, universities, and institutions, has flown an airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells. I knew that auto manufacturers were making steady progress on powering cars with fuel cells, but I was caught completely off guard by this one.

The Dimona motor glider built by Diamond Aircraft featured a 20kw hydrogen fuel cell stack. While the technology is still being developed, Boeing does not forsee passenger flights powered by fuel cells, but general aviation could benefit as light aircraft, manned and unmanned, could be powered with such a system.

You can read more details over at Boeing Flies Fuel Cell Airplane at the Green Car Congress, or head over to AutoblogGreen and check out Boeing Fuel Cells up in the Air, which has a diagram of the system.